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LeMay Family Collection

Fancy Wheels

LeMay Family Collection

The late Harold LeMay was the biggest car collector in the world, according to Guinness World Records, and he hoarded more than just Model Ts and Studebakers. His Dragonster car shoots fire, and his oldest is an 1899 Baldwin that runs on steam. Collectibles are displayed in every corner of the repurposed military academy—there are even cars on the old gym bleachers. 253-272-2336; lemaymarymount.org

Getting There 50 minutes: south on I-5, east on WA 512, and south on WA 7
 

Uncover UFOs

Maury Island

Cue the conspiracy theories: In June 1947 a fleet of flying saucers reportedly visited the isle that is now linked to Vashon Island by a manmade land bridge. The alien rumor is, alas, unproven, but an otherworldly calm pervades Maury Island Marine Park’s mile-long rocky shore—a spot that once fed a gravel mine—and the lonely lighthouse at Point Robinson Park. kingcounty.gov

Getting There 70 minutes: south on WA 99 and Fauntleroy Way SW, west on Fauntleroy-Vashon ferry, and south on Vashon Hwy SW

Gander at Graves

Bayview Cemetery

If anywhere in the state is haunted, it’s probably the spot where Bellingham residents have been buried since 1888. But despite the eerie Mother’s Memorial (legend has it that lying here will speed your death!), the oaks and maples burst into warm fall colors. Nearby, folks at the 1920s Mount Baker Theatre (360-734-6080; mountbakertheatre.com) are pretty sure it’s haunted—many have sighted an apparition named Judy within the Moorish edifice. bayviewcemetery.com

Getting There 90 minutes: north on I-5

 

Slither with Snakes

Serpentarium

The squeamish need not apply to this private reptile museum outside Monroe, home to an albino alligator and a two-headed turtle (taxonomy isn’t everything; there are spiders, too). Hold one of the 150 creature residents, such as a rosy boa or Burmese python, though the deadliest creature, the black mamba, is obviously hands off. 360-805-5300thereptilezoo.org

Getting There 40 minutes: north on I-5 and east on WA 2

 
Sculpt Wood

School of Chainsaw Carving

The sound of whirring chain saws is a constant outside George Kenny’s academy and storefront in Allyn, a town at the pivot of the Kitsap Peninsula. Call it kitsch or art, there’s clearly demand for the 500 bears and eagles that used to be stumps. Kenny goes highbrow as well; he owns the wine tasting room next door, Top of the Cork (360-275-5657). 360-275-9570; bearinabox.com

Getting There 80 minutes: south on I-5 and west on WA 16

Try This Town: Tenino

The biggest mystery south of Olympia isn’t how to pronounce Tenino (it’s “teh-NY-noh”), it’s what’s going on with the acres of natural six-foot lumps of Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve. There’s no scientific explanation for what looks a lunar landscape (or the work of a Godzilla-sized groundhog). On the other side of I-5 in Tenino proper, you’ll do a double take at the town swimming pool: the converted sandstone quarry is a remnant of the area’s mining history. Down the road, the Monarch Contemporary Art Center (360-264-2408) is home to massive outdoor sculptures of every shape and artistic pedigree, while in the other direction Wolf Haven (800-448-9653) shelters recuperating carnivores whose otherworldly howls fill 
the night air.

Getting There 90 minutes: south on I-5 and Old Highway 99

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Mima Mounts

Photo: Washington State Department of Natural Resources

 

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